Fundraising Ideas Beyond Candy Bars, Discount Cards


For as long as there have been youth team sports (and youth school music for that matter), there has been the need to raise money for uniforms, equipment, tournaments and so on.

Perhaps it’s time to get out of the candy-bar fundraising rut and try something different and maybe even more profitable. Here’s a quick overview of alternative fundraising ideas that other organizations have tried successfully. Here’s what you should do:

• Read the ideas
• Highlight a few that interest you
• Ask your fundraising team if they have tried any of the ideas
• See if you can build up interest in your group

Keep this in mind: If you can come up with something different and fun, you could possibly ensure that the next fundraiser will be a success. And remember, a successful campaign takes full cooperation of players, parents, supporters and an energetic campaign leader.

Sleep on this idea: the buy-a-mattress fundraiser.
This fundraiser can seem downright odd, but it’s said to be a very problem-free, and totally different, way to raise funds, especially if it hasn’t been done or overdone in your area.

First, you find a reputable mattress company in your town that is willing to participate. You agree to the terms of the fundraiser (a percentage of sales or fee per mattress) and agree on a place for the fundraising (sale) to take place. Here are the key points:
• The event takes place at a school gym or other public facility
• The mattress company has mattresses on display (like a temporary showroom)
• You promote it in advance as well as the day of the event (signage, etc.)
• The mattress company does all the product work: ordering, selling, arranging and collecting funds
• You collect a check for the proceeds of the event

Teams and organizations can raise anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 or more in sales. And the “team mom” and other adults, along with the kids, don’t have to sell a thing. It’s all done by the professionals.

Do a little research and reach out to mattress companies in town to see if they’ve heard about this new way to generate sales and help an organization raise money.

Tape a coach to the wall.
This one is pure fun and works for an off-the-wall (or “on-the-wall”) quick-and-easy fundraiser. Get plenty of duct tape (have a local office supply company donate some) and sell one yard of tape for one dollar. Bit by bit, the tape covers the coach till he or she is attached to the wall, maybe even off the ground if working upward from a milk crate or box. Some organizations pick a single “big day,” like opening day of the season, etc., to have this special moneymaker. It’s definitely fun for everyone—especially for the kids, who get to post pictures of their coach on social media.

Rent-a-kid.
Every homeowner has a project or two they need done in the house or in their yard. Here’s a way to pick one afternoon to raise extra funds. For a set per-hour fundraising fee, kids can do household or lawn chores over a weekend, tutor, babysit, rake leaves, paint a room, strip wallpaper and more. Of course, you’ll want to ensure the safety of all kids, so take time to write clear guidelines, and perhaps a minimum of two kids per chore, with supervision.

Fund-a-thon.
You see this concept often with major organizations, like the American Heart Association. At the heart of it all is a race (marathon, half-marathon, lap challenge) or some other type of physical outdoor event. Your league’s players can ask for a dollar for every lap they can run or walk during the event, or they can simply ask for contributions to participate in the event for fundraising. A basketball team, for instance, might have a hoop-a-thon where they shoot a set number of free throws (100 or so) and make a dollar for each shot made. Baseball teams can earn $5 for every home run hit in a home run derby, and so on. Of course, the rules and tracking must be in place and legitimate. On the day of the event, team coaches and parents can take donations on the spot, plus sell food or other merchandise.

Stage a clinic with a college team.
This could be an impactful and profitable event that builds goodwill with a local college or semi-pro team. First, see if one of your team parents has a connection with a local manager, coach or player on a team. (If you can start with someone who knows a professional, all the better.) Reach out to the player or team and arrange for the coach or a few players to put on a half-day clinic, for which you can charge a fee. What’s great here is that both the players and their parents would pay to attend. Arrange to pay the players something for their effort, but that might not be necessary. With social media and team websites, promotion and even registration could be simplified.

Work a booth at an event.
If your team is in a big city that hosts huge events (think car racing, college bowl games, etc.), your entire organization can be part of selling merchandise or food at the event. Not only can your team earn a sizable fee/commission, but you can also put out a tip jar, promote your campaign and pocket all of the extra cash. You can raise $5,000 or more in one very long day (or weekend). Note: This may require involvement from a few dozen volunteers, and the hours could be long, though worth it. To get started, Google “booth sales” for booster clubs.

Team community yardwork or housework.
Advertise through social media that your entire team is available (or groups of four or more) to do some hearty yardwork or a half-day indoor project (painting, wallpaper stripping, etc.). Set the fee high enough to make it worth the effort. You’ll have to pick a time in your season to make sure most everyone on the team can participate. This could be a great way to form strong bonds with the city council or other local leaders or business groups.

Photo Credit URLs:http://riponpress60.1upprelaunch.com/Content/News/Area-News/Article/Sticking-up-for-a-cause-photo-story-/2/36/11708
http://www.chattanoogan.com/2011/10/23/211859/Honeycutt-A-Hit-With-Kids.aspx
http://oneshetwoshe.com/2011/06/how-to-make-a-marshmallow-gun-our-4th-of-july-booth.html